"Assassin’s" Imaginative Twist on 419 Scam

Bizarre email scam

Lancashire police have warned against a bizarre email scam that could have come straight from the script of a Cohen brothers movie.

The emails are sent anonymously by a scammer claiming to be an assassin whose conscience has led to a sudden change of heart about their latest assignment – which just happens to be the email’s recipient.

In an imaginative twist on the traditional 419 scam, the ‘assassin’ offers to call off the hit for a price.  He then asks for more cash in return for the name of his employer.

Lancashire police didn’t disclose whether anyone had been taken in by the dramatic rouse, but DC Mark Alridge from Lancashire’s Economic Crime Unit, said:  “Anybody receiving this kind of email could feel intimidated and genuinely concerned that their safety is at risk.

“In actual fact this email is simply a spin-off from other emails designed to scam the public out of their money.

“The police take these matters extremely seriously, however, the poor English used is indicative of the fact that this scam originates from overseas. This makes investigation extremely difficult due to the various jurisdictional issues. We are looking into the matter but if anybody receives such emails our advice is to simply block the sender and delete the email.”

Head of Lancashire County Council Trading Standards, Paul Noone, added:  “These criminals are constantly coming up with new ideas to try and catch people out, but anyone who receives this scam should ignore it and not be taken in by its threatening nature.

“The sad reality is that while scams are a massive problem, with some people being conned out of very large sums, only one in 20 victims report them. This makes it very difficult to target prevention and take action against those responsible.”